OP Welcome to NASIOC! I also started with an 02 WRX, great car! Lots of love for the bugeye.
Originally Posted by paulpat
These are a must:
DO A TIMING BELT! or else engine will explode!!!
used catless uppipe so your engine doesnt explode!!!
Buy a used dp
If you have money left over then spend it on a downpipe and a tune. By then you will know enough about your car.
Great advice right there. Don't forget to do the water pump when you go in there and do the timing belt. On my 02 the coil packs started to have issues at that mileage also. Also, what tires on the vehicle? If they are crap, replace them before modifying.
As for modifications, because you are starting on a vehicle that is high in mileage I'd inspect first what needs attention and go from there. For instance, you don't want to make more horsepower if your suspension and or brakes are in bad shape.
If the brakes are in great shape and the suspension is nice and tight then start with some used exhaust bits. I don't recommend going used with everything, but a pipe is a pipe new or used. Just make sure it's not rusted, dented or in abnormally rough shape in any other way. Uppipe, downpipe and the rest of the exhaust and also pick up a used V2 AccessPort. I would also highly recommend either DEI thermal wrapping the uppipe and downpipe sections or sending them out to get ceramic coated. Goes a long way in turbo spool (not that a TD04 needs much help
) and under hood temps.
This would put you pretty much on par with a stock STI. Plenty of street power and lightning fast spool. From here I'd focus on suspension (coilovers or a nice spring/strut combo...maybe some endlinks and swaybars, etc.) Good luck and enjoy the car